Monday, November 2, 2015

Non-Fiction Monday: Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown

Little Melba and Her Big Trombone by Katheryn Russell-Brown. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. unpgd. lee & Low Books, August, 2014. 9781600608988. (Won)

Melba Doretta Liston was a musical prodigy born in Kansas City in 1926. When she was seven, she begged her parents for a trombone and, although she could barely hold the instrument, soon mastered it. By the time she reached high school, she was a respected musician and composer. She played with many of the jazz greats of the time, including Billie Holiday, Dizzie Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones. 

The rhythmic text is zingy and accented by onomatopoeia. The exuberant illustrations fairly pop off the pages. This biography celebrates the life and contributions of an African-American woman who routinely confronted racism as she brought joy to fans. Even after suffering a stroke, Ms. Liston continued to compose. 

This is a fine addition to the biography section of any classroom, school or public library.


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